The star model plucked from a chicken factory
He gave up the tropical sunshine and turquoise sea of his west African island home to look for employment in Northern Ireland.
Now Moy Park factory worker Helder Afonso is poised for model success after being named the Face of fashion retailer DV8, alongside Belfast art student Carys Magill.
And he's not the only ‘Face' with an interesting back story to tell, as runner-up Shonee McWilliams (18) is the daughter of a former Miss Ireland and David McWilliams, the man who penned the famous 1960s song The Days Of Pearly Spencer.
The judging panel was so impressed with this year’s calibre of contenders they decided to choose two winners — Helder and Carys — and two runners-up. Joining Shonee is Downpatrick man Jeffrey Turner (20).
Helder (23) moved to Dungannon last year from the tiny island of Sao Tome, off the coast of west Africa. Both Helder and Carys will now represent DV8 in its advertising, Press and online campaigns for the next 12 months, following in the footsteps of Carrie Anne Burton, the first Face of DV8 in 2008. Carrie Anne (20), from Downpatrick, is now signed to Tess Management in London and has modelled for the likes of John Rocha and Chanel.
The winning pair will also sign up to Alison Campbell’s modelling agency in Belfast, receive £500 worth of DV8 clothing vouchers and have their hair styled by award-winning hairdresser Paul Stafford for a year.
The successful Faces of DV8 fought off competition from hundreds of other wannabe models. On the audition day in April at the retailer’s flagship Belfast store around 300 contestants queued down the street in the hope that they would be chosen as the Face of DV8. The two winners and two runners-up were then chosen from 18 finalists.
The winners’ first assignment was a fashion shoot with celebrity photographer Khara Pringle. The pictures will be used in Press features and on the retailer’s website, www.dv8fashion.com.